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Aug 22, 2013 07:53 AM

20 Railroad Street-Great Barrington

Railroad Street has become an after the movie or casual go to place for friends and me. The by the glass wine selections and beer list offer something for everyone. The food is good and very reasonable priced. So, we were incredibly disappointed last night at managerial refusal to deal with a situation. There was a large party, including a toddler in a high hair who continued to scream at the top of his lungs. The adults ignored this kid, totally. A member of our party asked the manager to intervene and ask to parents to just walk the child outside. I was in the restaurant business for almost 30 years, and that is how we handled it, and, always as courteously and gently as we could. Nothing was done; then, our server told us: "there is nothing we can do about it." I responded that: "actually, there is; you could ask the parents very nicely to just walk the child until he calms down. On the way out, I DID ask the hostess to apprise the manager that I was going to post this.

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    1. Here's the thing: there are those parents out there who are self-absorbed, oblivious, and entitled--a lethal combination. THEY should have acted responsibly and realized that perhaps a short walk outside would have been a great courtesy to all the OTHER patrons. And these parents met the afore mentioned combination...when we left, there was cereal and other debris all over the floor for the restaurant staff to deal with.

      13 Replies
      1. re: AikiLou

        perhaps oblivious, but i'm failing to see how the parents are self-absorbed or entitled solely because they didn't take their screaming child out of a restaurant when nobody asked them to. entitled to what? a dinner without people anonymously writing notes about them on the internet. self-absorbed because they were more interested in their own dinner then someone else's?

        also, since i'm sure you snuck a peak at their check after they left, can you tell us whether they generously tipped the staff, to make up for the messy condition in which they left their table? i know i tip more when i spill a glass of water or drop some food on the floor.

        1. re: jon

          Probably a generational point of view...I am Woodstock generation...when my brothers and sister and I were kids, we went out to dinner all the time, and, my parents engaged us, and we were expected to behave. WhenI say a sense of entitlement, I mean it in sense it is often used to refer to MILLENIALS. And, I dine out frequently, and I HAVE seen similar situations in which young parents HAVE taken a screaming child outside. We are 20+ percent tippers, but not LAST night. I would ask if you feel I am being unreasonable to go out to dinner with the expectation of a reasonable peaceful, enjoyable experience? If you do, we will have to agree to disagree.

          1. re: AikiLou

            I doubt this is a generational point of view. I suspect since the days of cave men the elders complained about the entitled self-centered young adults spoiling their children. Anyway hope no one gets too upset at 20 Railroad which I think is quite pleasant usually, children are a part of life and unless I'm at a suit and tie kind of place I don't let them bother me.

            1. re: nfnebwiri

              I would offer only this, and, as with Jon, I am concluding that we will have to agree to disagree: yes, kids are indeed a part of life. HOW-ever there IS a difference between screeching kids and non screeching kids. I do believe it IS a generational point of view since the perception is that MILLENIALS feel any social behavior is acceptable since it is all about THEM anyway. At least MILLENIALS in restaurants slap their mobile devices on the table as soon as they are seated and proceed to bond with them throughout dinner...well, at least it keeps THEM occupied and not screeching.

              1. re: AikiLou

                the sweeping generalizations here border on parody.

                fact is: people go out to dinner, and, sorry to blow your mind, occasionally bring their young kids with them. those young kids are not always well behaved. should these particular parents have taken their child outside? sure, that would have been nice. but to suggest that they had to, because of some level of social mores that you live by, tells me that so long as their social behavior is acceptable to you, then you will enjoy your dinner, and that makes it seem like dinner is all about you and not them.

                again, i agree that the parents should have tried to calm their kid, but to suggest that they had to on your account is crazy.

                get off my lawn!

                1. re: jon

                  Jon, Jon, Jon...perhaps you did not read an earlier response from Bivalve. I and my SIBS have been eating in restaurants since we were old enough to walk, and we were expected to behave, and our parents engaged us. It is not that kids get restless and squirrelly...they do. If a toddler is screeching, that affects ALL other diners around that family. And, again, I feel it is reasonable to expect not to have to deal with screeching. I will bet my next Social Security check that I am not the only person in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, or in the whole United States who has the same expectations. In fact, there was a piece on the news a couple weeks about about children in restaurants. If you have any ideas on how to socialize these young kids about public behavior so they do not grow up believing ANYTHING GOES, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, let me know, and, I have had my last say on this. And, one last thing, I am socialized enough not to go on your lawn without being invited....unlike the MILLENIALS who believe it is their right NOT to have or RESPECT lawn-driven boundaries.

                  1. re: AikiLou

                    Really, I think our problem is not so much that we disagree that screaming kids while eating out are annoying, it's just that somehow trashing an entire generation (with capital letters for some reason) really makes your original point get lost. Next thing you'll be explaining how back in your day you had to walk uphill both ways through the snow to get to restaurants.

                    But, you're right it's probably time we all shut up before we get banished for non-food related bickering.

          2. re: jon

            jon, I believe the point is that the parents shouldn't have to be told to attend to their screaming child. They should have managed their dining experience according to what their child could handle.

            My two chowpups were recently toddlers, and I would never EVER let them ruin anyone else's dining experience with crying, never mind screaming. It's not the other diners' fault that I chose to take a toddler out to dinner. It was my responsibility to make sure that said toddler did not disturb the other diners' evening. That meant paying attention to each chowpup, making sure they were rested and in a good frame of mind, keeping our dinner plans to just an entree, making sure we had toys and/or coloring materials to keep the child engaged. And, yes, take the pup for a stroll if needed. We did this many times, and even took dinners to go when it was clear that a chowpup couldn't keep it together.

            Self-absorbed? Definitely. Paying more attention to their own enjoyment than the state of their child and how that child's behavior affected others qualifies their behavior as self-absorbed. If you want to let your child scream at the table, stay home.

              1. re: Bivalve88

                THANK YOU! point exactly...and it would not surprise me to learn that you probably had customers who on their way out stop at your table to comment on how well behaved your ChowPups were. This is how kids learn to be socialized.

                1. re: AikiLou

                  That's a funny comment, AikiLou. That happens all the time and we are still so surprised when it does.

                  1. re: Bivalve88

                    Yes, I AM question would be: Why go out to dinner with others if you have no intention of actually engaging with them? Also, what is SO important that it cannot wait a bit? But, that is a whole other conversation reserved for a whole other time.

          3. I can't help but wonder why so many restaurants who frown upon or have policies regarding cell phone usage will not speak up about other intrusive behavior that spoils a pleasant dining experience for everyone within ear shot. Families who ignore misbehaving or truly unhappy children really spoil it for the families who know how to behave in restaurants.